Criminal proceedings against former General Chamber of Commerce chairwoman Lily Chiang Lai-lei have been temporarily stayed pending her High Court challenge to the decision to try her case without a jury in the District Court. Mr Justice Michael Hartmann made the order yesterday after he gave Philip Dykes, acting for Chiang, approval for a judicial review of the Department of Justice's determination of the trial venue. He said the issue in the judicial review was of real public importance because it dealt with the constitutional protection of the city's long-standing jury system. He said the jury system was a 'cherished tradition' in the rule of law in Hong Kong, and he believed the constitutional issue was legitimate and should be argued. Mr Dykes said Article 86 of the Basic Law recognised the significance of the jury system and the need for it to be maintained. He said changes in social circumstances - with a larger pool of potential jurors available - justified a legal discussion of the issue. Mr Dykes said the judicial review might prompt prosecutors to give more details regarding the reasoning behind the decision to send the trial to the District Court, but it was not seeking to advocate the right for a defendant to select the venue for a trial. In Chiang's case, the prosecutors asked an Eastern Court magistrate to transfer her case to the District Court. Mr Dykes said the decision was made because the prosecutors considered the alleged offence would be likely to attract a penalty of not more than seven years' jail, which was within the jurisdiction of the District Court. But he said the likely penalty should not be the only factor the department relied upon when making such a decision. Chiang, 46, filed the application for a judicial review in the High Court on May 5, seeking to have her case heard before a Court of First Instance jury. She was the first woman to chair the chamber of commerce in its 147-year history. Chiang and a former employee, Shah Tahir Hussain, 45, are accused of one count of conspiracy to defraud and two of making false statements over the granting of share options to employees of Pacific Challenge Holdings, a listed brokerage company she used to run. Chiang and Pau Kwok-ping, 54, former chief executive of Eco-Tek Holdings, also face two counts of fraud in relation to the listing of Eco-Tek - a company Chiang founded. The Independent Commission Against Corruption brought the charges. Principal Magistrate Garry Tallentire adjourned the case to June 2 pending the High Court's decision.